Today is World’s AIDS Day—a perfect time to celebrate the fact that the United States soon joins most of the world in allowing those with HIV/AIDS to travel freely to this country.

In late October, President Obama lifted the 22 year-old ban on travelers with HIV/AIDS (only about a dozen countries have such restrictions, including Iraq and Libya) and the repeal will go into effect January 4, 2010.

Not only will the ordinance allow people to travel freely regardless of HIV status, it will alleviate the stigma surrounding a disease that we are helping to fight across the world. We believe travel opens us up to new ideas, helping us better understand our fellow human beings. This is a step in the right direction.

Clark Mitchell is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.